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Gearing up for Immune Defence: How Important is Vitamin C?

Written by Kathleen Schubert, natural health specialist from LipoRevolution.

With days getting shorter, this is our first indication that winter is around the corner. With seasonal change comes additional pathogens, such as viruses like colds and the flu. Adding to this, we now must cope with potential exposure to viruses that our bodies are not accustomed to, which leading scientists worldwide are still trying to understand.

With colder weather looming, we close our doors and windows. Less air circulation may promote infection as infectious particles are in the air and on surfaces that we share with others. Also, as we head inside more often, our sunshine exposure is decreased so our immune supportive vitamin D is reduced. Adding to this, we may lack certain vitamins and minerals that are deficient in our soil, no matter how well we eat. Some of us may have lifestyle habits or health conditions that inhibit nutrient absorption, while others are ageing and their ability to absorb nutrients may decline.

How do we support our body’s natural ability to ward off infections?

Besides cleaning our environment regularly, we can also prepare our bodies to support healthy immunity, our body’s natural defences to foreign invaders.While there is no ‘silver bullet’ for warding off viruses and other nasties, arming our bodies with essential nutrients will help it to naturally function at its best.

While good hygiene, exercise, managing stress and eating well are typically valuable actions we take to support our wellbeing, high quality supplementation is another valuable way to support wellness.

 

Vitamin C, otherwise known as ascorbic acid, is an important consideration for your immune arsenal.

It is an essential nutrient, meaning it cannot be produced by our own bodies. It is found in many foods and drinks including strawberries, oranges,cantaloupe, kiwifruit, mango, and other fruits. It is also found in vegetables, especially tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, potatoes, cabbage, and spinach. However, vitamin C’s benefits tend to be lost when these foods are heated or stored for long periods, so consuming raw, lightly steamed, and fresh is best. In our current climate though, some of us may have less access to fresh produce.

Vitamin C is essential for immune support as it directly assists in multiple cellular functions of your immune system. 

Vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infection (1).Vitamin C helps these white blood cells function more effectively while protecting them from damage by potentially harmful molecules, such as free radicals.It also helps heal wounds and repair and maintain healthy bones, teeth, skin, and cartilage. It helps your body to produce collagen – a key protein in skin, and one you need for proper wound healing. Finally, it aids in the absorption of iron and calcium, other vital nutrients.

Vitamin C gives me a sore stomach. Which forms of Vitamin C may work well for me?

Many people take standard vitamin C supplements. Have you experienced when taking too much vitamin C suffering from digestive issues? This form can very acidic and may lose its effectiveness after only a few hours.

There is a specific intake method for vitamin C that yields high absorption: liposomal vitamin C (2). Liposomes are digestible fat bubbles, which are used to encapsulate vitamin c for your intake. It may allow your small intestine to absorb more of the nutrient than a standard vitamin C supplement. Look for this in a carrier of sunflower lecithin, which has additional wellbeing benefits of being rich in choline and other essential fatty acids that support a healthy heart and brain, and avoids being genetically modified or using harsh chemicals for its extraction from the sunflower plant.

While vitamin C may not ward off every sniffle or cough you encounter this season, and certainly other measures need to be taken for serious illness, it is one of the approaches you can take to support your body’s natural immune defences. Look to combine this with adequate vitamin D3*(3), a multivitamin and mineral support that includes zinc, and even liposomal glutathione for an all-rounded approach.

Cautions & References

*Ask your health professional which vitamin C formulation is right for you and your family.

*People with high oxalate levels (blood) or history of kidney stones may need to avoid supplementing vitamin C, always check with your physician.

*Vitamin C contraindicated in people who carry the G6PD genetic deficiency. Taking vitamin c with this deficiency may contribute to haemolytic anaemia. Also caution for those with naturally high iron blood levels, as taking vitamin c may cause heart health concerns with vitamin c promoting iron absorption.

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25157026

2. https://coremedscience.com/blogs/wellness/how-to-pick-the-best-liposomal-vitamin-c. Bogdan Popa, M.D.

3.*Vitamin D3: (1000–4000 IU, or 25–100 micrograms daily, should be enough to ensure optimal blood levels in most people.4000 IU is the safe upper limit according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Make sure not to take more than that without consulting with a health professional.https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-vitamin-d-to-take#How-Much-Vitamin-D-Should-You-Take?

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